Saturday, June 6, 2009

Hilcia's Weekly Reads



I'm a happy camper this week. Yes, I'm reading again! Not as much as I would like to, but hey... I know I'm greedy when it comes to books. Some of the reads I had on my list were pushed back due to new releases I just HAD to read right away or other reads that came along. I do that a lot, but I'll get back to them this coming week. You wouldn't think with my list of books I would start my week by re-reading, right? But that's exactly what I did. *g*

I started by skimming the historical romance Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale and couldn't help myself -- had to continue reading. Did I enjoy it? You bet. Talk about an angst-riddled plot with great characters that you love or just love to hate! The story of Christian, a brilliant Duke who after suffering a stroke is unable to communicate verbally -- his hateful family ships him off to an asylum where he meets Maddy, a Quaker and daughter of a mathematician whom he knew before the stroke, and our tale really begins. 

I thought Kinsale did an amazing job of keeping her characters true to themselves and to that period in time. I loved everything about the story, even the hero's hated family members. I liked the way Kinsale gave the heroine enough character that even after falling in love, betraying her religious beliefs was a conflict for her. I thought it made their coming together tougher but sweeter in the end. And Christian? He deserved his fortune, his Maddygirl and anything else he wanted. This re-read was worth it for me.

Continued my week by reading Dial Emmy for Murder by Eileen Davidson, a soap opera mystery. I reviewed this book here, so I won't repeat my impressions of it, except to say that I'm glad I read it this week as it was a fun, light read. I really needed it and it provided a wonderful break from the other books on my list.

Ashes of Midnight by Lara Adrian was released and I wanted to read it immediately. I loved Veil of Midnight and I was very curious about Reichen's character. Adrian's paranormal series follows the Breed vampires and their Breedmates. At this point in the series, the Order -- a small group of warrior vampires -- is fighting more than just the bloodthirsty Rogue vampires. Dragos, an evil vampire, has resurrected one of the Ancients and is creating
a new breed of super strong Gen One vampires. In this book, Adrian focuses on Andres Reichen and Claire as the main romantic couple, plus the ongoing fight against Dragos continues. 

I was quite disappointed with Ashes of Midnight as a whole. I found the romance to be nice, but quite predictable. Although I liked Andres Reichen's character and understood him and his motivations, I didn't connect with the Claire, the heroine. I found her character to be contradictory. I also had a few questions about the world building. I truly couldn't understand why Claire had no clue as to her husband's, Roth, true nature. Shouldn't she be able to feel his reactions through their blood bond? How could she not have at least an idea of who this man was?  

A few unanswered questions that bothered me... Definitely a case of not connecting with the heroine and finding plot holes in the world building. Not my favorite book in the series, but as I said before, this series has not been a consistent one for me. 

Finished the week the way I started it, by reading a historical romance about a hero with a disability, this time it was The Madness of Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer Ashley. Brie reviewed this book for Musings, she summarized it beautifully, and so I'm just going to give you my impressions today. 

I had a problem with this book before I read it. I became curious as soon as I heard about it a while back. See, I wasn't sure the premise would work. I was told it involved a hero with Asperger Syndrome and my immediate question was, how is Ashley going to make someone who can't empathize with others (in this case the heroine) a hero in a "Romance" novel? Hmmm....

Well my friends, what can I say? By the time I finished the book, I could have cared less about the premise. I just wanted Ian and his Beth to get their happy ending. I became wrapped up in the "romance"-- the romance I thought I wasn't going to buy--bought it hook, line and sinker. Where there contradictions? There would have been if the name of the disease was mentioned in the book, but it wasn't -- Ashley does use the symptoms -- and frankly it became a mute question for me. I enjoyed the book for what it is, a beautiful romance with a gorgeous hero and his wonderful woman.
 
There were a few moments of frustration for me while reading the mystery and with the hateful Detective Fellows. The man is not the most likable of characters, but then I don't think he was meant to be. Loved the MacKenzie brothers -- yes, even Hart -- and I'll be right there waiting to read their happily ever afters.

I read two books for the M/M Romance Reading Challenge. I better hurry I only have a couple of months to finish my list. I'll be reviewing those next week, so I'll leave my comments for later.

What am I reading? I have three books going at the moment. Continuing with Bad to the Bone by Jeri Smith-Ready, although it has been placed on hold for a few days. 

Started Touched by Light by Catherine Spangler, third on her Atlantis mythology based paranormal series. I read the first two, Touched by Fire and Touched by Darkness and liked them both. I became a Catherine Spangler fan by reading her Sci-Fi/Romance "Shielder" series, one of my favorites to date. You know this one will be devoured.  

And the third book I started is Perdido Street Station by China Mieville, a Fantasy book that has been gracing my TBR pile for a while and one I've really been looking forward to reading. I have The City and The City, Mieville's latest release, but really want to read Perdido first.

That's it for me, a very productive reading week. How was yours? Any good ones? 

10 comments:

  1. Hmmmm, now I'm curious about the Laura Kinsale book :P I've tried one by her (the one where the heroine is an inventor) and had a lot of difficulty getting into it, so I'm hesitant to try another. Perhaps if I find it at the UBS next week...

    I still haven't started the Breed series by Lara Adrien and by this point, not sure if I ever will, sigh.

    Yeah, it's unfortunate that the murder plot in The Madness wasn't better. If it had been, it would be a perfect book. In the end though, we all enjoyed Ian and Beth and I think that's the most important. I think that Ms Ashley couldn't say Asperger Syndrome in the book because it just wasn't diagnosed in that time period :) Well I'm glad that it saved the book for you LOL :)

    Great reading list, Hilcia :) Much better than me. This week, I have a pathetic total of 2 :(

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  2. Hi nath! The Kinsale book I really enjoyed -- she goes into detail when it comes to Julian's stay in the asylum, he spends time there, and I know Maddy is either really liked or disliked by readers (at least it seems so to me). I happen to be one of those who likes Maddy and liked the way Kinsale gave her a deep personal conflict as well as the romance. Nice old style read for me.

    The Adrian series you can really start at any time, they're pretty fast reads. :)

    Now on the The Madness. LOL, I'm glad Ashley didn't mention Asperger's in the book too, but by the end it didn't matter to me weather the symptoms of the syndrome correlated with Ian's actions or not, I got really caught up in the romance, and even with the disappointing murder plot situation, I enjoyed the book.

    I'm glad you like my reading list. 2 is not pathetic, some weeks are better than others, right? Let's see what I finish by the end of next week. I just received a shipment of Hannah Howell's backlist books from a friend in Canada, I might just do some Howell binge reading :)

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  3. I love Flowers from the Storm! Isn't it great? And I started Ashes of Midnight but put it down somewhere - not sure where and now it's gone missing and I started rereading an old favourite. And I'm so glad you enjoyed Lord Ian!!! I loved the way her called her 'my Beth' and I loved the interaction with all the brothers and I loved Ian and I loved Beth. This book just made me so gosh darned happy, I didn't even mind Fellows *g*.

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  4. Hi KristieJ! Yes, Flowers... was a great read! It was a week of angsty romance reading for me, but the really GOOD type of angst. And yes, I enjoyed Ian and his Beth -- loved both of them. Isn't great when we find books that just make us happy? Looking forward to reading about Cam, Mac and Hart. :)

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  5. Nath- I liked that book by Kinsale. It was a lot more lighthearted than what she usually does. Most of her work is angsty and I love angst so she works for me.

    Hils, I'm thinking that the heroes name was Christian, but I could be wrong. And I'm really glad you enjoyed your reread.

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  6. Brie, you're absolutely right! Editing...ARGH! Just read one with Julian... too many books, LOL!

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  7. Hey Brie :) When you say that book, you're talking about Flowers right? Hmmm, I put it on my list of books to look out :)

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  8. Nath, I was actually talking about Midsummer Moon. I do hope that you find Flowers to be a better fit.

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  9. I'm clapping hands that you enjoyed Ian Mackenzie so much. Wasn't it just fab? I just love it!

    I just started Bad to the Bone and have Touched by Light that I'll be reading next week. Great minds think alike. ;)

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  10. Yes they do :P Thanks, Tracy. I finished Touched... but am still reading Bad to The Bone, have it on hold while I finish a couple of other reads and I'm taking a break from vamps, lol!

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